tv Democracy Now PBS March 18, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
03/18/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> the left-wing nonprofit organizations are streaming them in buses. bring your friends and family in order to close the gap between us and the labour party. with your help and does help, we will reform the national government and protect the state of israel. amy: after insulting israeli arab voters and promising no palestinian state, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu's likud party wins a surprise
victory, putting him on course for a fourth term in office. we will speak to the israeli journalist amira hass and jamal zahalka, and arab member of the israeli knesset and chair of the political block of arab parties known as the joint arab list which took third place in tuesday's election. then to life after guantanamo. we will look at the story of a father and son who were both imprisoned at guantanamo and held for eight years. they were never charged. one was resettled in portugal, the other two kate -- the other twoto cape verde. welcome to democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu has won a surprise election victory, putting him on course for a fourth term. his likud party is poised to control 29 or 30 seats in the 120 member knesset.
the zionist union opposition based second with 24 seats. a united list of arab parties came in third. netanyahu closed out his campaign with a vow to oppose a palestinian state, reneging on his nominal endorsement to a two-state solution in 2009. net and then younetanyahu also vowed to expand the illegal west bank statements and issued a last-minute plea to supporters denouncing a high turnout of arab voters. the zionist union also ran on a platform for israel to keep that many of israel settlement blocs in the occupied west bank, the home of any future palestinian state. likud says netanyahu intends to form a new government in the coming weeks. we will have more on the israeli elections after headlines. u.s. and iranian officials are giving differing assessments of the progress of nuclear talks. the head of iran's nuclear agency told state media 90% of
the technical issues involved have been resolved, but speaking in washington, white house press secretary josh earnest said the ottoman agreement are 50/50. >> in the mind of the president we are in a situation where we are at best it is a 50/50 proposition that a deal will be completed before the end of march. the couple -- there are a couple of reasons for that. the first is the president is driving a hard bargain, and iran will have to make some tough and specific commitments. as well as agreeing to a set of extraordinarily intrusive inspections. amy: iran, the u.s., and five world powers are seeking a framework deal by the end of the month, which would be followed by a final agreement in june. the talks continue and switch on. the regime of syrian president shar al-assad is facing new allegations of atrocities in its
bombings of rival held areas. amnesty international says regime attacks on raqqa, the stronghold of islamic state militants, in november carrie "every indication of being war crimes." according to amnesty, rizal's airstrikes killed at least 115 civilians, including 14 children. the syrian observatory for human rights says at least 19 people have reportedly been killed in barrel and gas attacks in north was in syria. witnesses say chlorine may have been used. tuesday, the u.n. panel investing syria's civil war says it will start sharing the names of civil war crime suspects with states prepared to bring international prosecutions. briefing the human rights council in geneva, panel chair paulo sergio pinheiro said the names will not be made public. >> we will not release the names publicly now. we can best serve justice at this time through target
disclosure. we will share names and information about specific alleged perpetrators with state prosecution authorities and are preparing cases to be heard before a competent and impartial judiciary. this will be a process that respects human rights, the fair trial rights of the accused, and the rights to the tru of the victim amy: meanwhilesyrian state media claims aside'sces have shot down a u.s. drone. if confirmed, it is the first touchdown in the u.s. aircraft since the obama administration began bombing islamic state targets in syria last august. the international red cross has launched an emergency appeal for the south pacific island nation of than a want to following last week -- of the new want to -- of vanuatou. simon eccleshall says the effect
is still being assessed. >> overnight we've launched emergency appeal for vanuatu after cyclone pam. food, water shelter health, urgently did not health food -- urgently needed non-health food items. amy: the typhoon left some 3300 people homeless, but the number is expected to rise as aid workers reach the outer islands. house republicans have unveiled a new budget plan that would cut spending by $5.5 trillion over 10 years. the measure increases military spending by adding $40 million in so-called emergency war fund and slashes at least $1 trillion in funding for social services like food stamps and welfare. the plan demands of obama care possible repeal.
speaking after a st. patri's day meeting with the irish prime minister, president obama criticized the republican proposals. president obama: i should mention that i was hoping for a little luck of the irish as the republicans put forward their budget today. unfortunately, what we are seeing right now is a failure to invest in education and infrastructure and research at national defense, all the things that we need to grow to create jobs, to stay at the forefront of innovation, and keep our country safe. it is not a budget that reflects the future. it is not a budget that reflects growth. amy: congressional democrats are posing new secrecy surrounding the proposed trans-pacific partnership, or tpp. the u.s. is in talks with latin american and asian countries for a sweeping trade pact covering 40% of the global economy.
its provisions have been mostly kept secret. a briefing is set today for lawmakers and washington d.c. but it has been deemed classified. thomas member loza delauro -- converse member rosa delauro of connecticut says the white house is being needlessly secretive, if the tpp would be as good for american job as they claim there should be nothing to hide. democratic congressman alan grayson said the only purpose of classifying the information is to keep it from the amerco people. the head of secret service joseph clancy, as agreed to answer questions. the agents allegedly drove through an active investigation directly next to a suspicious package. while officers at the scene wanted to arrest the agents and administer sobriety tests, a superior ordered their release without the tests. questions by congress member nita lowey of new york, secrets are the secret service director
said he learned of the incident days later. >> this episode seems to be more evidence of a cultural issue that has not been adequately addressed by changes in senior management. >> it will take time to change some of this culture. there is no excuse for this information not to come up the chain. i am frustrated, i am very frustrated that we did not know about this. i did not know about this until monday. amy: a republican commerce member has announced his resignation. arun shock of illinois spent some $40,000 to redecorate his office in the style of the television drama "downton abbey." he was also dogged by reports of improprieties in his use of donor-owned private jets and overbilling for travel costs. missouri has executed a mentally
ill and disabled prisoner by lethal injection. cecil clayton was missing 1/5 of his frontal lobe as a result of a work accident. years after the injury, he was arrested for killing a police officer and sentenced to death despite apparent confusion over the crime. psychologists concluded his execution would violate the constitution's ban on executing the saint -- the insane or intellectually disabled. but the missouri supreme court refused six times to hear the case and a last-minute appeal to the supreme court failed. thousands of people are protesting european austerity policies in a rally today in frankfurt, germany. a crowd of about 10,000 people is gathering outside the new headquarters of the european central bank. at least does cope police cars and other property -- at least two police cars and other property have reportedly been set ablaze after hard-line activists lit flares.
from being between a man and a woman to being between two people, traditionally between a man and a woman. the reverend break williams -- blake williams said, "some of us are calling it liberation day." spanish activists have rallied in front of the headquarters of blackstone group in new york to protest is expanding role in the global housing market. following the global financial crisis blackstone has been at the forefront of wall street's housing takeover, the calming the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the united states. spanish activists are seeking to halt blackstone's purchase of the bulk of mortgages from the spanish bank catalunya caixa which received a bailout with public funds. they say the sale would paralyze attempts by hundreds of families to negotiate better conditions and avoid eviction.
at the end of the protest, the image of a giant vulture and the words "stop this placement" and "blackstone -- vulture" were projected onto the front of blackstone's midtown headquarters in new york. victor casanova, from marea granate new york, said the fight against blackstone is global. >> we think this is a global fight. there is a lot of work being done to stop the evictions in spain. other organizations are doing similar things in the u.s. this is the place where decisions are expecting thousands of families, and we want to tell people leaving work that we are not allowing these things to happen. amy: those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now! democracy now.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. amy: before we start with the main segment of today's broadcast and the israeli
elections, you have an interesting is in "the new york daily news" on hedge fund takeovers following our last headline of housing. juan: it is not only happening with blackstone and other parts of the country and spain, but right here in new york city, i have been reporting for a couple of years about a particular real estate firm, backed by hedge fund money eyeing buildings all around new york city, especially in gentrifying neighborhoods. in harlem and washington heights. and in brooklyn. i reported two years ago that what they were doing with agent over the building is that they were mostly immigrants who are in their buildings. rent-stabilized buildings. what they would do is immediately demand proof of citizenship of certain levels of income, which you cannot do in new york state when you are already in a building. you cannot demand to see proof that you are illegally -- that you are legally in the country
or you have a certain income level. as a result, governor cuomo did an investigation. the company was placed under an independent monitor in january of last year, and the company was ordered to reinstate any tenants they had if it did previously and -- that they had evicted previously improperly. cast acastellan continues to jack up the rent. the company boasts building by building, how did we buy the building, how many tenants did we manage to get out and renovate their apartment? in one building in harlem, they bought the building in 2009. 30 apartments. 28 have been emptied and renovated, and they have been able to drive the rent up by 50% per unit.
but they go through building by building, what they call enhancement of values of their properties, of their portfolio. not only that, but in many of the buildings, the violations are enormous. the housing violations. one building i visited on monday night, the tenants have been without gas heat or gas to use their stoves since before thanksgiving. they went throughout the entire winter without heat and without stoves that they could use. the landlord supplied them electric space heaters and supplied them electric burners claiming that there were major repairs that had to be done to the gas lines in the entire building. so they went through the entire winter without heat. there are many problems, but the rent is increasing. amy: especially if people are undocumented. they would be free to challenge. juan: the superintendent of one
building immediately tried to end the meeting saying you rent your apartments, you cannot hold a meeting in your halt to discuss your problems. so the meeting ended. there are major problems in these buildings, but this happening with a state-appointed monitor, supposedly, in the offices. a major problem so many new yorkers say -- that the rents are too high. this is driving up the cost of housing in new york. private equity firms are eyeing up buildings, driving out old tenants, and seeking to double the rents, sometimes 50%, a 100% increase. we are going to move on now to israel where the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu and is likud party, have won a surprise victory for a fou with 99.5% of the votes counted likud won 29 or 30 seats in the 120-member knesset. the zionist union opposition
placed second with 24 seats. a united list of arab parties came in third. exit polls had showed likud and the zionist movement in a close tie. in the final days of the campaign, netanyahu stressed his right when that his right wing positions. he visited the har homa settlement and he unequivocally ruled out allowing a palestinian state, reneging on his nominal 2009 endorsement of a two-state solution. on election day, he really does israel's arab voters. >> arab voters are streaming en masse. the left-wing organizations are bringing them in. regards of the polling station bring your friends and family in order to close the gap between us and the labour party to with your help and god's help, we will reform the national government and protect the state of israel. amy: likud said netanyahu intended to form a new
government within weeks with negotiations already underway with a number of parties including the pro-settler jewish home party and ultra orthodox groups. isaac herzog, the leader of the zionist union and the son of a former israeli president conceded defeat, saying he had called netanyahu to congratulate him. the zionist union also ran on a platform for israel to keep major settlement blocs in the occupied west bank keep jurors on as israel's undivided capital, and block the right of return for the latest in palestinian refugees. on tuesday, side eric ott, chief palestinian new ghost -- cy yusor barakat, cheap housing negotiator, responded. >> it seems to me that benjamin netanyahu will form a government in israel, and we all heard what he said yesterday. he said that if he is elected as the prime minister of israel, netanyahu said he will not allow
a palestinian state. he will continue with settlement activities. i believe he was not campaigning in the election. i believe he was honest and he specified his truth. mr. netanyahu has done nothing in his political life but destroy a solution. i believe now it is up to the international community to stop the prime minister as above the law, and he should be held accountable. he should not begin impunity. impunity will mean more conflict and will not make peace. justice will make peace. amy: palestinian negotiator cy a barakat -- psyd eric cap. joining us from tel aviv is jamal zahalka, and arab member
of the israeli knesset and a chair of the political block of arab parties known as the joint list. here in new york we are joined by the israeli journalist amira hass, correspondent for the israeli newspaper ha'aretz in the occupied palestinian territories, based in ramallah. she is the only israeli jewish journalist to have spent 20 years living in and reporting from gaza and the west bank. her book "diary of bergen-belsen: 1944-1945," written by her mother with her own afterward introduction, just came out last week. that's the with you, amira hass. would you call this a surprise victory? amira hass: the whole complaint is not of war or occupation.
the cosmetic differences between labor, which is now called -- what is called labor and likud were minor. people's real enthusiasm. what netanyahu has been offering continues to be a winning situation for most of the people. the nonexistent welfare state in israel proper now exists by territory. it is always an option for israel to move to the occupied territory to improve their conditions. inside israel, there will be the continued discriminated policy, which disseminates israeli citizens, the israeli juice. -- the israeli jews.
with the support of the religious party, his position -- change would have only been in the puzzle if he would get 28 seats and not 30 seats. i did not expect much more. when people say this is because he promised not to have a palestinian state, to do everything against the palestinian state, his actions have done everything possible to prevent this from happening anyway. so it is not about statements that people fall two. the reality -- not only he but other parties as well. it is not about the statement about his guaranteed position. the two state solution other parties like the labour party advocate, i call it a 10-state solution or the seven-state
solution which does not see gaza in a palestinian state. it is a bunch of -- inside the west bank. juan co what about the impact on the international community. netanyahu's last-minute fearing even more to the right on these issues and his attack on -- veering even more to the right and on these issues and his attack. amira hass: every time israel is crossing the red line and it is time for the world to react, the world is not react. we saw the war on gaza was a redline. this was crossed again. and good relationships with europe, with america continue. so of course we want to hope that something will change, not
only among rank and file and grassroots level, but also politically with their decisions. but so long as israel is considered part of the enlightened, democratic west and israel is welcoming everyone in the -- israel is welcomed everywhere in the world, israel is seen as part of the world. amy: we are going to go to break. when we come back, we will go to tel aviv to get response from dr. jamal zahalka, who is a knesset member for more than a decade and chair of the joint list. this is democracy now! we will be back in a minute.
democracy now.org, the war and peace report. we are with the israeli journalist amira hass, who lives in the occupied territories. and we are joined in tel aviv by dr. jamal zahalka, arab member of the israeli knesset. he is chair of the balad party. doctor, you are a member of the knesset. your response to the win of benjamin netanyahu, who has vowed there will be no palestinian state. jamal zahalka: first of all, we are proud of the achievement. we are quite tru four -- mr. netanyahu
winning the israeli elections sends a very, very bad message to everybody everywhere because he implements war crimes in gaza and he should be punished. he became an israeli hero. so i think this is why because they watched him, the world watched him and did nothing, men like him should be sentenced in an international tribunal. i think this is the main thing in the israeli elections. politically, no change in israel, and netanyahu is continuing with the same policies. juan: what about the impact of the growth on the joint list? most americans are not aware that the arab population of israel is 20%. that is a higher percentage than the african-american population
of the united states. what about the impact for the future in israel of the growth of the palestinian-arab citizens of israel? jamal zahalka: we are stronger now, and we can defend our people and our interests, our lands, our rights. and we can oppose the rising israeli system and that of mr. netanyahu himself. i do not think that any prime minister in the world -- he said that the voting of some citizens is a danger. instead of encouraging the citizens to vote, he said that the arabs are voting and that it is danger for us. this is something that i think
demonstrates his undemocratic -- amy: this is one of the videos produced by the joint list that features a variety of israeli voters is pining why they support it. >> i am voting because i think it is the only democratic option. >> they need to look inward and ask themselves what they are afraid of. i'm sure you want to live in a state of social justice and equality. >> i feel totally confident and comfortable as a ms. right he -- as a mizrahi jewish feminist two o vote for the joint list. >> it is the first time that i feel i am going to vote wholeheartedly. >> it is the only list that represents both of us. >> the joint list is my political home.
amy: one of the videos produced by the joint list. dr. jamal zahalka, can you explain what the joint list is, and how it came into being? jamal zahalka: it is comprised of four parties. my party is a democratic national party, and a moderate movement. the arab movement for change. and i think that we became a major force in the knesset by joining together, and we also have many supporting us, and because we have also their support, as that of solidarity
and also because we have a democratic platform, the democratic platform in the israeli knesset, based on all citizens, belonging to one group of citizens, than the jewish state. amy: during an interview with a website owned by -- the prime minister unequivocally without never to allow a palestinian state of he is elected. >> it is simply yielding territory for attacks against israel. this is a genuine reality that was created in the past few years. those who do not understand that harry their heads in the sand. -- those who do not understand that very their heads in the sand. amy: amira hass talk about
this. and also the growth of the joint list. amira hass: as i said before, what netanyahu said now in an interview to an american -- probably he says he is more frank than he was four years ago, five years ago, but his actions have been always directed to preventing a palestinian state from being established, but the whole transfer in the past 20 years, of labor-led coalitions, all was channeled to this reality. the two-state solution seems almost impossible, at least in the sense that we saw the two-state solution. in jerusalem, the capital, and those settlements. and now we talk about the
palestinians sometimes staying in the west bank, which is an enumeration of islands and controlled areas. this is a joke. this is not really two states. i do not attribute too much importance to these statements only that maybe he has defined more the american audience who like to hear american politicians, who like to hear this, netanyahu is wanting to establish a two-state solution, so let's support him. maybe defiance stretching the edge or pushing the edge of little bit more. i tend to believe this will pass quietly, but i hope to be wrong. i think it is the only positive thing about the election, the
joint list. first of all because you know that the reaction to the knesset built to increase a higher threshold to this election. not three votes, not three seats in the parliament, but four seats in the parliament, to get as many votes in the parliament which meant that some of the parties were not to be elected. some of the arab parties. this brought to the decision to unite forces. even though there are big differences between the different parties. ok, they are all arabs, but they also have different convictions and different viewpoints. but many of us, israel and
israeli jews, we felt that it was the most targeted community in israel. because the threshold build meant to eliminate almost eliminate apolitical complementary presence -- eliminate a political commentary presence, they went through some of their so-called mainstream parties, also voting in favor. so this was a defiance of the israeli, right-wing wish to oust them from political threats. this is already a victory. -- it is already a
census achievement. this is also the third strongest party in the parliament. within the committees of the parliament. but the best thing for me is the message to the palestinians in israel and also the west bank of gaza. policy can create a change of other effect. juan: in the lead up to the election, and a lot of the coverage in the united states, it talked about the growth of the economic issues in the israeli electorate, and not so much the issue of the occupation, but in the end it really was the occupation that drove so much of the vote for netanyahu, don't you think? did the economic issues fade? amira hass: the feeling that
there is nothing to change about the occupation is good. it is an approval, a re-approval of his policies, to keep the occupation going, to call it -- to call gaza a state. to have wars every now and then. this is a vote for confidence, and israeli vote for confidence for these policies,. yeah, it is always a mystery as to how an agreement is not reached. ts from the parties that netanyahu has created over the years. but in the end, it works because
we are better off, we benefit from the occupation, as we see it now. we benefit from the occupation when it comes to land, the solution of land when it comes to israel proper. when it comes to having the option to move into the occupied territories. more than half a million jews were leaving the occupied territories. both in eastern jerusalem and the west. conditions are so much better than they could ever afford in israel proper. it is not something to dismiss. amy: i wanted to ask dr. jamal zahalka about the foreign minister, net new hope -- netanyahu is foreign minister, who made headlines after calling for the beheading of disloyal arab citizens. his label as the jewish isis. your response?
jamal zahalka: mr. lieberman being the foreign minister of israel, that decision is not in the margin but it is the mainstream of israeli politics. the fact that capitals in europe and america respect a restless man like him -- a reckless man like him, i think it is a very bad message to palestinians as well. we do not forget about you. he should be forgiven, that is what -- otherwise he should not be a guest in paris and berlin and rome and washington. i think the world should
intervene in what is happening in our country, and i think the world should form a solution that israel is not right for any kind of solution, and the only way to end the bloodshed is that the world intervene, and that there is a solution over everybody, according to that, and a new resolution. amy: how can you, as an arab-israeli -- what difference can arab parties make in the israeli knesset? jamal zahalka: we struggle for our rights and defending our land. we use the knesset for that, so now we will be able to present it in more committees and we will have more votes in the knesset.
the world will -- the world will change its policies toward us and everybody came and they were very interested, and now they are not dealing with us and this is very important according to the world. every establishment in israel would be forced to do that with us also. so now we are not one party or four parties united, but rather representatives of our community. amy: i was just speaking to a young palestinian activist. she could not vote in the israeli elections. she lives in the occupied territory. but she said if she could vote, she would have voted for netanyahu because she says he states it exactly as it is. the other parties may soft-pedal it, but at least the world understands what is happening. amira hass: yes, there is such a
theory. we all know that he speaks frankly, what the labour party maybe is saying more softly. but with the labour party, there has not been much difference. with age, i come to appreciate also the danger of being choosing the worst situation. because when it works, it works. and sometimes he might bring his bullet to the army, deciding -- which can push to something that is not reversible. this is what i feel. it is not that i think that
labor would make the change. of course not. but the brutalization of very right-wing parties, in a coalition, it is very simple for most people. sometimes it might be healthier or wiser to wait a bit more and to change one's tactics. but the extreme right wing in israel, the real -- the most racist party of all, a combination of -- how would i say -- retarded religious party with extreme nationally
religious groups, did not pass the threshold. but we still have to wait. two days later, they usually strengthen the right wing. i wanted to add that one of the things that really warms our hearts is that the joint list, arab list, also presented the joint list in the community in israel, but they also want to represent other week and groups -- other weakened groups. this is something that shows how they are so much more
enlightened than any of the other israeli jewish groups. amy: we are going to leave it there bank. thank you for being with us. amira hass: is a longtime israeli journalist, living in the occupied territories for more than 20 years. award-winning journalist with ha'aretz newspaper. her mother's book has just come out in paper book, "diary of bergen-belsen: 1942-45." we also want to thank error guest -- our guest in tel aviv, jamal zahalka:. this is democracy now! when we come back, we will learn about a father and son held at guantanamo who resettled in different countries. we will learn about their story. stay with us.
amy: palestinian heritage, here on democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report and i'm amy goodman, with juan gonzalez. juan: an extraordinary story from guantanamo, a father and son held for many years in what became of them after their release from the detention facility. abdul nasser khantumani and his son, muhammad, were imprisoned in guantanamo in 2002.
mom and was still a teenager when he was taken into u.s. custody in 2001. his father was resettled in cape gverde almost a year later and they have not been able to meet each other since. amy: a new piece in "harpers" magazine details their ordeal. "in learned early on that proximity to abdul nasser was a comfort item they could manipulate to try to make mohammed talk. after mohammed became uncooperative, they relocated him as a form of punishment. it would be years before they would hear each other's voices again." we're joined now by the author who represented the father and son. the piece is headlined "life after guantanamo." welcome back to democracy now!
pardiss kebriaei: a fled when they heard that the u.s. was going to attack. as they were crossing the border into pakistan, they were seized in pakistan, presumably turned over. it was a widespread practice at the time. they were transferred through the network of prisons in pakistan and kandahar and afghanistan, and ultimately to guantanamo. and in guantanamo they suffered a brutal torture that we have heard a lot about that has been documented. mohammed was held in continuous solitary confinement for three years. amy: how old was he? >> he was a teenager, 17 or 18. he had a year of high school left. one of the most devastating
aspects of his torture was the separation with his father. they were at a certain point held together but sort of brought close and then moved apart as a way of pressuring mohammed, punishing him when he did not speak. it was devastating to him. juan: he was hooded for two months? pardiss kebriaei: he was hooded in transit to kandahar. ironically or not ironically, on his way out of guantanamo, he was hooded the way he came into her that is the experience of many other prisoners. but the continuing pain of their story is there continuing separation. they were cleared for release by the obama administration in 2009. amy: they were never charged? pardiss kebriaei: they were
never charged. they filed hey be us cases. the court agreed because they were ultimately cleared for release. and in 2009 portugal came forward. there was a lot of goodwill at the time, offered to take mohammed but not his father. there was this moment in what, they were brought together after three years of being held apart and had one hour to say hello say goodbye. mom and was asking for his father's blessing to leave, and that moment is seared in my memory. amy: you were there bank? pardiss kebriaei: i was there. the purpose was for mohamed who was really distraught. that would mean leaving his father behind, and having seen his father for years and wanted to ask his blessing. when he gets --
juan: when he gets to portugal, does he know anyone there? pardiss kebriaei: he does not. that is the situation with many resettled men. there is a great deal of stigma and collateral consequences that they suffer when they arrived in country. those include travel restrictions. part of the reason that mohamad and abdul nasser have not been able to see each other are because of travel restrictions. it has been six years since mohamad's release. the rest of his family have, since muhamed's release -- he has been allowed to see his mother and other siblings, but not abdul nasser. abdul nasser is on an island and his been not allowed to leave his island. he has not seen his wife, has not seen his son since 2010.
so -- amy: how long are these restrictions in place? pardiss kebriaei: it is unclear. the reason i wanted to tell maha ahmed's story is to -- they have been seeking unification for years. i want to say the other part of this that was important to tell was to show that life goes on and there is rebuilding that happens after guantanamo as well . and that was the counter the narrative of fear and to say there are hundreds of men who are rebuilding their lives with struggle, with pain, but rebuilding. and that if there is more that happens, then the statistics that come out periodically from the government, and from people like tom cotton, who try to keep the prison opened. juan: these restrictions on travel when they are sent to these countries -- are these requirements of the u.s. government, or are these contractual agreements with the
government who take them? how does monitoring these conditions occur? pardiss kebriaei: we have never seen the conditions of transfer. presumably the countries expect people to be monitored and restricted in different ways at the behest of the united states. it is clear to us, though we have never seen the documentation that, yes, the monitoring and restrictions that are in place are requested by the united states. but we have not actually seen those terms. jamal zahalka: so thesejuan: so these are punishments that continue after they have been released? pardiss kebriaei: that's right. in a number of cases, former detainees challenged the consequences of their detention the stigma that hampers their ability to form relationships
get jobs, go to school, be open about who they are because of this continuing enemy combatant label that follows them. continuing detention for some written -- continuing detention for some. many of these cases were dismissed as moot by the courts because these people were no longer in the custody of the united states suffering the very real consequences of their detention by the united states. amy: you write that muhammed attempt at suicide when he was separated from his father at guantanamo? pardiss kebriaei: he did. it was a few months after this case. it was a cry for help, an act of desperation. he wanted to live. it was an act that he did in despair. at that point he had been held
in solitary confinement for several years. he was 17, 18. so he was just completely traumatized, and his father had been moved close to him and then moved away. at that point he hit bottom, cut his wrists in his cell, smeared his blood on the walls. amira hass:amy: and they use his father against him, taking his father away from him? pardiss kebriaei: they were put in cells next to each other, and then -- about the cutting we filed an emergency motion in court to move maha muhammed in solitary -- out of solitary confinement. he was said to have narcissistic traits and had cut his wrists to get attention. that is along the lines of how
the government has responded every time as detainees undertake acts of despair. they called the first three deaths at guantanamo a good pr move. juan: how many prisoners are still being held there? pardiss kebriaei: right now there are 5522 people there. muhammed abu noster was lucky. before the obama administration lost steam and basically did not make efforts to transfer people for many years through that is the only reason they are there. now there is this opening, this window of time when transfers have resumed again and they need to continue. we have not seen transfers in about two months. but legally, legislatively, the administration has the ability
to transfer people. that needs to happen and there needs to be a special envoy in the state department to replace clifford sloan, who is no longer in that position. but it is critical for those transfers to resume, and i think the story highlights the arbitrariness, the fact that they are there. abdul nasser and muhammed are struggling, rebuilding their freedom. but these men are still trapped in guantanamo. amy: we will link to your piece in harpers "life after guantanamo: a father and son's story." pardiss kebriaei: represented abdul nasser and his son muhammed in 2008. that does it for our broadcast. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013.